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Be an Inclusive and Responsive Leader

  • Come together with fellow heads of independent schools across New England.
  • Be uplifted and inspired by our keynote speakers, Howard Stevenson, Katie Conboy and Tony Jack.
  • Dig into practical situations. Exchange experiences, resources and lessons learned.

AISNE’s annual heads’ retreat is a special opportunity to step outside the day-to-day adventures and demands of your leadership role at your school, and be surrounded by true peers who deeply understand its rewards and challenges.

We’ve brought together thought leaders, peer case studies and industry experts, intermingled with down time and social networking opportunities, designing a three-day experience that will leave you enriched, informed and renewed. Join us.

Customized to You, Your Needs and Your Interests

Peer Group Meetings, Based on Your Time in Your Role

This retreat is designed to support AISNE heads of school, in alignment with your personal leadership journey. Based on your time in your role, enjoy specialized experiences and peer group connections.

  • 1st Time Head of School: Being new to independent school headship is a special benchmark in your career. Be supported and make new connections in this cohort.
  • 2nd - 5th Year Head of School: The “honeymoon” is over, the initial goals set and addressed. What’s next? Join this cohort.
  • 6+ Year Head of School: You’re seasoned in headship. Connect with peers as part of this cohort.

Strategy Tracks

Select a track and amplify your retreat experience through specially crafted experiences, networking groups, design-thinking activities and resource sharing. Considering these five key strategic areas, which one is at the top of your list for 2020? Rest assured, our tracks can be as fluid as you like and you’re welcome to shift tracks anytime.


Keynote Speakers

  • Howard Stevenson: Dr. Stevenson is Executive Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC), a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority figures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods. He is also the Director of Forward Promise, a national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to provide philanthropic support for organizations designed to improve the health of boys and young men of color and their families and to help them heal from the trauma of historical and present-day dehumanization, discrimination, and colonization. Since 1985, Dr. Stevenson has served as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the country.
  • Katie Conboy: Dr. Katie Conboy was appointed Provost and Senior Vice President of Simmons University in July 2013. She is the chief academic officer (CAO) of the University and has over thirty years of experience in higher education. Since arriving at Simmons, Provost Conboy has been responsible for completely revising the undergraduate core curriculum, launching six online graduate programs, and redesigning the institution—moving Simmons from "College" to "University" status, creating four new interdisciplinary Colleges, and hiring their deans. She also led the institution-wide strategic planning process that produced Redesigning Simmons: The Plan for 2022, the current strategic plan for the university.

  • Tony Jack: Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and assistant professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He holds the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. His research documents the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates: the Doubly Disadvantaged—those who enter college from local, typically distressed public high schools—and Privileged Poor—those who do so from boarding, day, and preparatory high schools. The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The National Review, The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, American RadioWorks, and NPR have featured his research and writing as well as biographical profiles of his experiences as a first-generation college student. His first book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students, will be released in February 2019 with Harvard University Press.

Industry Experts

  • Allison White: Allison White is an experienced fundraiser who believes in the transformative power of philanthropy. She has spent her entire career in development thanks to early exposure to the industry. Since joining Graham-Pelton in 2011, Allison has partnered with clients across all sectors, focused primarily on campaign planning, major gifts, board development and growth plans. Prior to that, Allison worked at NYU Stern School of Business, the Williams Syndrome Association, and the ComedyCures Foundation. Throughout her career, she has raised millions of dollars and demonstrated a commitment to growth and innovation without losing sight of best practices. Allison earned her bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and completed coursework for NYU’s Masters in Fundraising.
  • Michael Moon: Dr. Michael Moon, works as the Director, People Insights at ADP and runs her own HR research consultancy called, ExcelHRate Research and Advisory. As an organizational psychologist and people analytics expert Michael specializes in applying analytics and evidenced-based approaches to the management of people. She is incredibly passionate about helping others understand how to use data to drive better and more effective decisions about people. Dr. Moon is also a highly sought speaker and conducts organizational research on a range of topics including organizational culture, turnover, social capital, organizational network analysis, employee engagement and wellbeing. She holds a PhD in Human Capital Management from Bellevue University and an MS in Human Resources from Suffolk University and was recently named one of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers by Human Resource Executive®.

  • Maria LaTour Kadison: Maria is a trusted partner to senior leadership and trustees in independent boarding and day schools and higher education institutions across the country. Under her leadership, EdwardsCo has doubled in size while adding recruiting and retention services to its robust brand and creative strategy offering. After a successful career in international strategy and marketing consulting, Maria sought more mission-driven work. Her education career began at Simmons College as the vice president for marketing where she led institutional branding, admissions marketing, and advancement communications for the undergraduate college and five graduate schools. Her love and appreciation for the work of independent schools began early—Maria is a graduate of the Wheeler School in Providence, RI. She also earned a BA from Emory University and an MBA and M.A. in International Relations from Yale.
  • Carla Pugliese: Carla is committed to building schools that foster self-efficacy, belonging, and joy. Her experience as a middle and high school teacher, middle school administrator, and social-emotional learning specialist, as well as her studies in mediation, meditation, and mindfulness, led her to build Beyond Delta Learning Group and develop the Beyond Delta method as a way to bring social-emotional skills to bear on vital – and often difficult – institutional, societal, and cultural initiatives. She is an alumna of Stanford University and Columbia University’s Teacher’s College.
  • Sara Goldsmith Schwartz: Sara is the Founder and President of Schwartz Hannum PC. She began her legal career at the law firm of Ropes & Gray in Boston, after completing a federal court clerkship with The Honorable William Young in Boston. In the course of representing more than 200 educational institutions across the United States, Sara has become a trusted advisor to Heads of School, Board Chairs, Deans, Business Officers and other independent school leaders as they tackle and resolve matters of school governance, student and employee discipline, risk management, sexual abuse allegations, and the myriad compliance documents such as enrollment agreements, school Bylaws, student/parent handbooks and more.
  • Bruce Shaw: Bruce has taught and led in independent schools for over forty years. Most recently, he was the Director of Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA (1994-2010). Prior to that, he headed Marin Academy in San Rafael, CA (1984-1994). He has been an independent consultant since 2010.

  • Brooke Trivas: Impacted by the racial tensions she witnessed as a girl growing up in Baltimore, Brooke has spent her career creating spaces that instill their occupants with a sense of equity, safety, and belonging. She brought that belief with her when she joined Perkins and Will and started Boston’s K-12 practice. Building on the firm’s legacy of designing for schools, Brooke has nurtured the growth of this practice, bringing sustainable, inspiring, and inclusive spaces to students and teachers throughout the Northeast. Her belief is that the time and effort she takes in design comes through in a building in the sense of place, community, and sustainable measures, while letting its users know how much they matter.

Agenda Details

Click Here to review our full agenda and plan your retreat experience.

2020 Heads' Retreat Participants

  • Melissa Earls, Academy Hill School
  • Marshall Carter, Atrium School
  • James Hickey, Austin Preparatory School
  • Trey Cassidy, Bancroft School
  • Cindy Laba, Beacon Academy
  • Brendan Largay, Belmont Day School
  • Gregory Schneider, Belmont Hill School
  • Christopher Wilson, The Bement School
  • Peter Twadell, Birches School
  • Grace Cotter Regan, Boston College High School
  • Laura Caron, Brookwood School
  • Jennifer Price, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
  • Mark Tashjian, Burr and Burton Academy
  • David Tierney, Cambridge Friends School
  • Lise Charlier, The Cambridge School of Weston
  • Lance Conrad, Chapel Hill - Chauncy Hall School
  • Gretchen Larkin, Charles River School
  • Katherine Bradley, Dana Hall School
  • Joe Perry, Derby Academy
  • Mary Carter, The Derryfield School
  • Todd Vincent, Dexter Southfield School
  • Jadihel Taveras, Esperanza Academy
  • Moira Kelly, Exploration School
  • Matthew Green, Falmouth Academy
  • Rob Gustavson, Fay School
  • Kimberly Ridley, Fayerweather Street School
  • Derek Boonisar, The Fenn School
  • Steve Armstrong, The Fessenden School
  • Noni Thomas López, Gordon School
  • Donna Milani Luther, Inly School
  • Andrea Katzman, Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island
  • Steve Farley, Kingsley Montessori School
  • Deanne Benson, Lesley Ellis School
  • Christine Metzger, Lexington Christian Academy
  • Suzanne Fogarty, The Lincoln School
  • arvind grover, Meadowbrook Country Day School
  • Todd Eveleth, Nantucket New School
  • Danielle Heard, Nashoba Brooks School
  • Margaret Douglas, Odyssey Day School
  • Scott Young, The Park School
  • Tim Richards, Pomfret School
  • Emily Jones, The Putney School
  • Whitney Slade, Riverbend School
  • Ned Parsons, The Rivers School
  • Diane Rich, Rocky Hill Country Day School
  • Kerry Brennan, The Roxbury Latin School
  • Marie Leary, The Sage School
  • Thomas Haferd, Saint Paul's Choir School
  • Jennifer Borman, School One
  • Mark Stanek, Shady Hill School
  • Maura Farrell, Sophia Academy
  • Will Crissman, Tenacre Country Day School
  • Antonio Viva, Walnut Hill School for the Arts
  • Geoffrey Wagg, Waynflete School
  • Beth Black, Wellan Montessori School
  • Allison Gaines Pell, The Wheeler School
  • Sarah Pelmas, The Winsor School
  • Renee DuChainey-Farkes, The Woodward School

Retreat Registration

$499 per person


Room Reservations

Reserve your room at Ocean Edge:

Call 508-896-9000 or 800-343-6074 or e-mail at your earliest convenience or by Friday, December 20. Rooms are $139/night plus taxes and fees.

Room Reservation Guidance:

Reserve two nights: Monday, 1/27 and Tuesday, 1/28 to make the most of all available opportunities.